Participants comment on the Anthropology Open Access event at MIT

Front row, L to R: Don Kalb, Editor, Focaal; Vivian Berghahn; Martin Holbraad, editor, Social Analysis / Second row, L/R: Jessica Lockrem, Publication Manager, Society of Cultural Anthropology; Tim Elfenbein, former Managing Editor of Cultural Anthropology. / Third row, left: Kirsten Bell, anthropologist at University of Roehampton in London, and member of Libraria (Photo: Andy Levine)

A powerful model for radical collaboration and new ideas
Chris Bourg, Director, MIT Libraries
“The model of bringing together multiple stakeholders – libraries, publishers, scholarly societies, funders, and scholars – to both analyze a specific funding model for open journals and to develop shared understandings of the broad challenges and opportunities for opening up scholarship in a discipline is a powerful one. Flipping entire disciplines to open models of disseminating scholarship will require radical collaboration and radical new ideas; and this gathering was a model for both.”

Extraordinary. A rare chance to collectively solve a truly complicated problem
Chris Kelty, Libraria, Society of Social Studies of Science, UCLA
"Last week's gathering at MIT was an extraordinary event: it brought together all of the different stakeholders involved in the struggle to make OA work for anthropology and beyond: researchers, scholarly societies, librarians, funders, publishers and others. It is rare for all these stakeholders to have a chance to talk frankly and creatively about how to solve a truly complicated problem that involves them all, and the participants all did so with good faith and creativity.  The concrete outcomes — the decision to pursue a pilot project to flip 13 anthropology journals to OA — will be closely watched and provide important evidence for all the people involved.  It was a great first step towards making researcher-led open access in anthropology and beyond into a reality."

Demonstrated the power of organizing OA by discipline
Judy Ruttenberg, Program Director for Scholars & Scholarship,
Association of Research Libraries

This workshop demonstrated the potential power and efficacy of organizing an OA community by academic discipline, bringing together critical stakeholders to craft a path forward that makes sense for the discipline. Kudos to the organizers for excellent preparation and a well-structured workshop.

L to R: John Willinsky, Khosla Family Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education; participants at the event; Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries, MIT (Photos: Andy Levine)

"The greatest benefit from the gathering is the increased conviction of Berghahn Journals that moving its core anthropology collection of titles to a subscribe-to-open model for a 2020 launch is the right thing to do."

— John Willinsky, Khosla Family Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education

A promising model for transitioning academic journals to open access
Virginia Steel, Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian, UCLA
“The workshop presented an intriguing financial model that would enable Anthropology journals to transition from subscription-based, paywalled content to fully open content. While there are details to be worked out, if the model is successful, costs will be shared between funders and libraries, and this could become another path to take to move more disciplines to OA.”

A crucial example for other disciplines
Martin Stokhof, Vice President, European Research Council
"The goals of open access can be advanced only by concerted actions by all stakeholders: funders, publishers, institutions and libraries, and, of course, scientific communities. The MIT workshop provided an excellent example of the synergetic effects of such actions. Also, I was struck by the intense awareness of the community of anthropologists that they have a key role to play. I am sure that this will prove to be crucial, not only for moving anthropology towards open access and open science more generally, but also as an example for other disciplines to follow.”

Encouraging conversation on advancing open access for the public good
John Willinsky, Khosla Family Professor of Education, Stanford University
"The workshop was both a bold expression of interest in open access from all those attending and a helpful elucidation of what is: 1) for funders, a complex array of considerations that need to be taken into account in directly supporting open access publication; and 2) for librarians, a readiness to advance open access in anthropology as only the first step. The greatest benefit from the gathering is clearly the increased conviction of Berghahm Journals that moving its core anthropology collection of 13 or 14 titles to a subscribe-to-open model for a 2020 launch is the right thing to do at this point. Second to that: the open and encouraging conversation on what it would take for each of the stakeholders in scholarly communication to make this work far more of a public good."


Suggested Links

3 Questions with Heather Paxson
Anthropologist propose a universal Open Access protocol at MIT

Heather Paxson
William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Anthropology;
Interim Head, MIT Anthropology; Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow

MIT Anthropology

MIT Libraries | MIT Libraries Open Access Task Force

Berghahn Journals


About the Open Access (OA) movement